National Identity in Israel History Lessons

Hieronymus Purwanta


This study explores the relationship between national identity and history lessons in Israel as a means of nation-building. The problems raised are: (1) What is the construction of Israel's national identity? (2) How has national identity discoursed on nation-building projects? The historical method with a nationalistic approach developed by Ernest Renan and Anthony D. Smith is used as a research and analysis framework. Renan explained that nationalism is a combination of the struggles of the ancestors in the past and the desire to unite in the present. On the other hand, Smith formulated nationalism in three main elements: national integration, national autonomy, and national identity. The results of the study show that Israel's national identity rests primarily on Zionism and the Holocaust. Therefore, the subject matter of history primarily discusses the efforts of the Israeli people to return to Palestine as an ideal place to build the nation. On the other hand, the Nazi/Hitler massacre in Germany, known as the Holocaust, was seen as the pinnacle of suffering for the Jewish community in exile.


Israel's National Identity; History Lessons; Nation-Building; Zionism; Holocaust

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